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A Big Girl Rant: Why Do Big Girls Overcompensate?

January 14 2010 | CeCe Olisa

You might get mad at me for this one, but here goes….

I’ve been noticing a trend among the big girls that I see in New York City and its not good. Whether I’m on 125th, in Soho or navigating the sea of tourists on 34th street; lately, if I’ve seen a big girl her style catches my eye (and not in a good way).

These days when I see a group of girls, the big girl is the one who’s outfit is over the top. The abundance of piercings, extreme extensions, crazy hair dye, unflattering leggings in awful colors, offensive cleavage, color contacts… etc. is mind boggling!

Just so we’re clear, when it comes to this issue, I’m not sitting on my high-fashion-horse looking down. I’ve been that girl. I’ve died my hair, pierced my nose and while I love my boobies, I’m sure I’ve been a little over zealous in sharing them with the world. But ultimately, I realized that I was doing instant changes to my looks and ignoring the one change that I actually needed to spend time on, my weight.

I was in a bar bathroom about a year ago and there was an advertisement for a local gym next to the mirror. It said “Putting on Lipstick Wont Make You Thinner!” So many PSP’s are attempting to use external things to distract from their weight and it doesn’t work!

That piercing wont make you thinner!
Having hair extensions wont make you thinner!
Changing your eyes from brown to blue wont. make. you. thinner!

For the record, I think you can be fat and fabulous (duh!), you can be fat and fashionable (double duh). I’m talking to those of us who’ve become fat fashion victims. It’s like, instead of embracing trends and personal style we’re being overtaken by these things. Its an easy trap to fall into because it’s instant gratification. Hearing “you look cute today” feels good, especially if we feel like our weight keeps people from seeing us a certain way… but lets keep it all in perspective.

Because at the end of the day when we take out our piercings, fake hair and contacts… if we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin– it doesn’t matter.

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49 responses on “A Big Girl Rant: Why Do Big Girls Overcompensate?

  1. thefatandskinnyonfashion

    I don't think she is trying to say you need to lose weight to be beautiful. I think what she is trying to say is that you don't have to be so extra to get attention. I see it all the time. There was a big girl in college, much bigger than me and I'm an 18/20, who insisted on wearing size 14 and smaller body conscious minidresses and shirts that didn't fit because that is what she thought would get her a man.She got negative attention. You don't have to do all that to get attention. You can still be fat, dress nice, feel good about yourself, and get the positive attention every woman no matter what size deserves.

  2. Stiletto Siren

    I completely get what you are saying and you are definitly not saying anything about weight less you are taking about style and about loving yourself. People tend to get outrageous for attention and its not always flattering. Quite a few larger girl use their breasts and in turn their sexuality as a weapon because its something they can say is a pro to being fat. I think that a tad bit slutty, extreme overcompensation phase is just a part in learning to love yourself, at that point you are done hiding your body and want to showcase the goods and show you have confidence, its just a matter of getting past that phase and becoming a fatshionista and reeling things in to a flattering level that is important.

  3. ♥ Shrinking Kenz ♥

    Hmm, I live in NYC so it's quite possible that one day you'll walk by me. And the worst thing you'll see is perfectly manicured hands and feet and an expensive bag.

    I think, skinny or not, we're all doing what makes us feel prettiest. And maybe these fashion victims feel better like that than they do as frumpy. I'm so not condoning the over-the-top look, but if it makes them feel a little sexier that day then I can't give them too much crap.

    I'm all for doing the best with what I have and not waiting to reach a goal to feel good about myself. And I think you're on the same side…maybe they just need a visit to "What Not To Wear." 🙂

    But seriously..where do you see the girls? I never see them in SoHo…? 🙂 Some days I'm pretty positive that I'm in the only PSP anywhere in Manhattan. Just saying. hehe

  4. Meg Blocker

    I hear what you're saying, but I think that this is something that happens with women (and men) of all weights and sizes.

    Lipstick won't make you prettier, more successful, thinner or happier, but the boost it gives your ego might just spur you to pursue the things that WILL make you happier.

    People of all sizes wear things that don't suit them and dye their hair crazy colors in pursuit of their ideal persona.

    That's fashion, dahling.

  5. Mike Lowrey

    I also get what you are trying to say but it seems to be missing the mark in my opinion.

    I blog about plenty of PSP who wear things they have NO business wearing out in public, but that behavior isn't widespread at all.

    You are singling out PSP for being over the top and not having your fashion standards.

    So what some PSP flaunt their chest. For each big girl in Harlem that does it, I can count 3 skinny chicks on the Upper West that also do it.

    Skinny chicks just aren't born with the gift of fashion.

    I mean, what's the opposite of your case. A PSP who tries to keep it fashionable and ignores the fact that she's just as overweight?

    From what I see in NYC, there's more PSP who think "I'm big but my curves are in all the right places" or "I'm big but I dress fashionable" than the type you are talking about.

    Either way all 3 views seem like excuses and aren't dealing with the true issue.

  6. Where the Fur Flies

    I think I understand what you're saying, and I'm on board. Being overweight doesn't mean that we can't be fashionable, but anybody – fat or skinny – can go too far with the current trends. Unfortunately, if you go too far with the current trends and you're overweight, then you look fat AND overdone.

  7. Missouri Girl

    CeCe I do get what you are trying to say, and I have seen it myself.

    I think with some of the PSPs I have seen dressed in outrageous fashions with crazy hair and piercings, have all been younger girls. Which is a tough age no matter your weight. You are searching for your identity and people do that through their look.

    I think of it this way. If I look in the mirror and like what I see when I leave the house, and I carry myself with confidence, not everyone is going to like what I am wearing, not everyone is going to like the color of my hair. But if I do. That is all that matters.

  8. Nicolle B

    Here in North Carolina seems to be like a 50-50 split.

    It doesn't matter so much the size of the person, most people look quite "normal", and then suddenly you see someone that makes you go "the heck?!" 🙂

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  10. Josie

    i am sorry to say i feel like the girl you are talking about. but i want to believe that i'm not really as over-the-top as i think i am. i like brightly colored tights and pairing them with low key dresses, though i don't like a lot of cleavage. when i first started cultivating my style, i was obsessed with being matchy-matchy. now, i'm the polar opposite. i like my personal style, even if some girls, (whatever their size) don't.
    it's taken me a long time to psychologically get where i am with clothing. i don't ever remember not being chubby, and all throughout high school and part of college, i wore boys clothes. i'm mid-20s and am just now getting that i'm as much girl as any other female and that clothes are ancillary to what we're about.
    i enjoy your blog!

  11. juliette

    I agree with everyone who said that many women do this, not just big ones. I think we just notice big girls more. I see many many many badly dressed women – but that's my opinion. I generally get positive comments on my outfits but I also get comments that "you're too big to wear that" particularly anything "fashionable" like my over the knee boots or my leather skirt. It's as though people want big women to always dress conservatively and when we don't, it's viewed as odd, when it's all really just the eye of the beholder.

  12. Anonymous

    How about the girls who do dress like that and still, manage to feel comfortable in their skin.
    I think you are looking at the situation through your own eyes- when you dressed like that you knew that you were doing it because of how you felt – so they must feel the same way.
    And that's where I disagree with you, because there are some girls who are just fine with what they look like.
    What if a girl doesn't think she's a fashion victim? What if she doesn't want to lose weight – what if she just happens to be a plus sized lady gaga – I doubt gaga wants to be thinner, she's just eccentric as all hell (but, that's only what I think)…
    I think whereas a good deal of your entry is indeed true for many plus sized girls, which is clear to see according to your comments, even according to my own experience, but I'll never lose sight of the fact that for some young ladies, it is simply not their truth. There are many big girls for whom overcompensating couldn't be farther from their minds. Being thin/thinner is not at all on their wish list or radar.
    For some people it's not overcompensating, it's waking up in the morning. They don't think they're fashion victims – you do.
    By saying that these girls overcompensate for not being thin, you're ultimately buying into society's idea that if you're thin, you wont feel the need to be a fashion victim anymore (which causes me to wonder about thin women whom one might consider a fashion victim -what exactly are they overcompensating for?) I digress, it still all comes down to what you said at the very end –

    "Because at the end of the day when we take out our piercings, fake hair and contacts… if we don't feel comfortable in our own skin– it doesn't matter."

    You're absolutely right! For you, feeling comfortable in your own skin might mean being thin/thinner, and you might say that's not true, but I feel if it weren't you would've added one word – if we take out our piercings, fake hair, contacts and fat – only because it is equally and especially true.
    It doesn't matter how fat OR thin you are, if you aren't ok with who you are in your head, what size you happen to fit into does not matter. It never will.

    Maybe, just maybe some of these fashion victim girls are perfectly fine with who they are in their heads, and if that is the case – you should be fine with them too. Even though I suspect even if you weren't, they wouldn’t really care.

  13. QueenDiva

    I think the title of this blog should be why do PEOPLE overcompensate. Because truely there are a lot of people out there that are over the top. Like young men whose boxers are always on display. young girls with the tiny tiny tank tops and the baggy sweats where I catch a glimpse of thong. It doesn't matter what size or age you are there will always be someone who we will always feel isn't doing it right. So I have gotten to a place where I realize, to mind my own. In the words of the the ever so wise Sheryl Crow "If it makes you happy" than do you. I think that you may see these girls in bright colors and think… over the top. And in that girls head she's thinking. Today, I'm wearing bright orange. I'm not depressed. I feel good. I feel pretty. You can't take that from her because its not a fashion decision you would make. I wear bright eyeshadow. Some wouldn't take the risks I take. But you know what, at the end of the day. I can say… I didn't conform to what others thought was best for me. I did ME!!! And only "I" can do "ME" this well. *winks*

    Nice blog. stop by mine some time. I'm not nearly as deep as this post, but I do my best.

  14. Anonymous

    I live in Vancouver BC and we're not expemt from big girls.

    I love this entry. I'm big, and losing the weight. Although I'd be fit my whoel life, life happens and I wouldnt change having gain 100 lbs in a year for anything!

    I can see how people instantly form opinions of me until they talk to me and realize I'm educated, not sloppy, have great personal hygene.

    Now fashion is a whole other issue.
    Not sure why plus size stores seem to think PS Gals want bedazzle on all our clothes! WE DO NOT!

    I found two great plus size stores that immitate current fashions, and although the price is more, it means I'll never have to wear a too-too! Same with bras…. why is it after a certain size all underwear starts to resemble armor?

    I'm 5'2, 185 lbs, although my curves and shape help me carry the extra weight, I'm girthy.

    When this weight does come off, I'm going to look back and remember who I was and how I grew to be a better person for this experience.

    Love your blog!

    ~being samiantha

  15. h3lloki77y

    i just found your blog today and have spent a few hours perusing it, and was really enjoying it except for this post, i think it is important to also remember that the pierced,crazy haired girls just want to be excepted for who they are, i have manic panic dyed rainbow hair, i have 26 piercings and lots of tattoos, that doesn’t mean i am over compensating…. i am not a small girl (239lbs) and my piercings, hair and tattoos have nothing to do with my body weight and everything to do with my personality. i am not saying its the same for every girl, but we all have our own reasons for the way we look and its important to remember that before judging girls that are different.

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    I’ve got to admit it’s very refreshing to check out a relatively ‘different’ blog like yours, good job. I look forward to dropping by quite often. BTW I’ll be looking out for your next comment then.

  17. Klalle00 Personal

    I so see this also. I be thinking do you go to work like that. I love me some weekend hair. But I do tone it way down for real life.

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